NEW DELHI: Suryakumar Yadav
‘s status as India’s best T20I batter in recent times has been reaffirmed as he became the highest scorer in a single calender year with 732 runs, surpassing Shikhar Dhawan’s 689 back in 2018.
Suryakumar, who scored one of his finest T20I half-centuries against South Africa on a seaming track in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, is only 24 runs short of completing 1000 runs in the format.
His strike-rate in 2022 is a whopping 180.29, while his career strike-rate is a staggering 173.35 across 32 games. He has already hit 57 sixes and 88 boundaries in his career so far.
In Pics: Pitch surprise as India down South Africa in 1st T20I
<p>Arshdeep Singh rattled the opposition batting on a seaming pitch to set up India’s eight-wicket win over South Africa in their opening T20I on Wednesday.</p>
<p>South Africa recovered from 9-5 in 2.3 overs to post 106-8 after India elected to field first.</p>
<p>Arshdeep returned figures of 3-32 and Deepak Chahar took two wickets on an unusually bowler-friendly track.</p>
<p>India lost skipper Rohit Sharma for a duck and Virat Kohli (3) before the hosts achieved their target with 20 balls to spare and take a 1-0 lead.</p>
<p>KL Rahul (51) and Suryakumar Yadav (50) put on an unbeaten 93-run partnership to complete the chase.</p>
<p>New-ball bowlers Chahar and Arshdeep made it count after India lost pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah to “back pain” before the start of the match.</p>
<p>No. 8 Keshav Maharaj hit 41 off 35 balls to help South Africa bat the full 20 overs and add some respectability to their meagre total.</p>
<p>Chahar bowled skipper Temba Bavuma for a fourth-ball duck and fellow opener Quinton de Kock dragged a delivery on to his stumps from Arshdeep.</p>
<p>The Proteas slipped further into trouble when Arshdeep had Rilee Rossouw caught behind for nought and then bowled David Miller the next ball.</p>
<p>It was South Africa’s worst-ever start to a T20 international when Tristan Stubbs fell to Chahar in the third over.</p>
<p>Aiden Markram (25) Wayne Parnell (24) put together 33 runs for the sixth wicket to slow India’s momentum.</p>
<p>Markram smashed 3 fours and a six before being trapped lbw by Harshal Patel as India successfully reviewed the on-field umpire’s initial decision.</p>
<p>Parnell fell in the 16th over but Maharaj stood firm before his knock ended in the final over as Patel picked up his second wicket.</p>
<p>In reply, India struggled to 17-1 in the first six overs with Kagiso Rabada sending back Rohit and then Kohli was caught behind off Anrich Nortje.</p>
<p>Suryakumar eased the nerves with two sixes including a lucky one with an edge that sailed over deep third man to bring the crowd alive.</p>
<p>Suryakumar hit five fours and three sixes in his 33-ball knock and took on the bowlers with Rahul as they set about the chase with clinical precision.</p>
Coming onto bat at No.4 position in the first T20I against South Africa with India being reduced to 17/2 in the seventh over, Suryakumar hit two sixes off his first three balls to give the innings a change in momentum after a slow start.
He remained unbeaten on 50 off 33 balls as India scaled the target with more than three overs to spare and eight wickets in hand.
With the two sixes early in the innings, Suryakumar also went past Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan to record the most sixes in any calendar year in T20Is. Rizwan held the record for his 42 sixes in 2021 with Martin Guptill also smashing 41 sixes in the same year.
Suryakumar has taken his tally of sixes to 45 in 2022 already, a record in all T20Is, with three more months to widen the gap with Rizwan.
While Rizwan took 26 innings to hit 42 sixes, Suryakumar has broken the record batting five times fewer.
Suryakumar is up to second position in the latest MRF Tyres ICC Men’s T20I Player Rankings with 801 rating points after his half-century in the third and final T20I against Australia in Hyderabad.